One of my favourite podcasts is Shift Your Spirits with Slade Roberson. Last week he talked about how we should create for the fringe or weird segment of the population instead of the mainstream. The theory being that it is the folks on the edges of society that embrace the new, the different, and the cutting edge well ahead of the general population so therefore, real change begins with them.
Slade goes on to say that this is a concept of the author and thought guru, Seth Godin . He suggests that if you want to create things that have a real chance of going viral in the marketplace, they need to be designed for the outliers of society.
I know that my lifestyle sits smack dab in the middle of the plain vanilla world of mainstream society but when I see something out of the ordinary, like an extraordinary design with cool features or a quality item with workmanship above and beyond the norm, I pay closer attention.
I love truly original stories and controversial, even conspiratorial theories. I love when man discovers something new or disproves something old and I stand in wonder of the human brain’s capacity to think outside the box.
My every day life may be plain vanilla but in my soul, I am exploding with a cornucopia of colours and flavours.
So why don’t I outwardly live in this rainbow feast? Perhaps the lens is focused one way. Perhaps I have the ability to appreciate the unusual and weird but don’t have the creative genes inside me that can create it.
Well I know that is absolute bunk. We all possess creative genius, but creativity is like a muscle, it atrophies from disuse. Creativity is always inside you and it is constantly trying to get out. You will feel it as dis-ease in your body. You will sense it as unrest in your head and in your hands. You will know it as jealousy when you see the creativity of others and long to create yourself.
So what do I mean by letting your weird out. It’s not like being creative is a weird phenomenon, people create every day. What I mean by weird is the ideas you have in your heart and soul that you feel the people in your life may not except.
We have all had a friend or family member who decided to bust out and live their life in full colour. Maybe they did something radical like tattoo their head or sell everything and travel around in a bus creating beaded jewelry and selling at various fair around the country. Maybe they left a well paying steady job in the city to homestead on a remote piece of land. We may have whispered to other vanilla living friends and family in concern that our loved one has gone a little weird.
Now weird is a relative term. If you decided to spend a year travelling from one ancient library to the next studying the esoteric text of the religious masters because it excites your soul like nothing else, then this may sound perfectly normal if your contemporaries are scholars. In fact, they may be a little jealous that they are not coming along for the experience. But if your group of friends prefer beer and Saturday night football over reading ancient texts, or any other subject for that matter, then you would come across as being weird. They may even pitch in for a one way ticket for you on the crazy train.
Letting your weird out is that creative impulse that is a truly unique expression of your soul. No one else can create anything close to it.
And that makes letting your weird out scary as hell.
Because by letting your weird out you are gifting a little piece of your soul to the world. By doing that, you open yourself to criticism. People with out a doubt, will trash what you create or how you choose to live, and that hurts.
How do I know this? Because we have all done it. It is basic human nature to discount what we don’t understand. If it is outside our normal, we object it as radical, outrageous or just plain weird.
So why subject our tender hearts and souls to the hoard of critics? Because in order to live our true authentic selves and fully realize our creative genius and squeeze every ounce out of this one amazing life, we have no other choice. We have to let out our weird and wonderful ideas, our unique slant on life, and show our true colours no matter what anybody else says about us.
Not everyone will applaud your effort. Your creative genius is not meant for everyone. Like Slade Roberson and Seth Godin say, you are meant to create for the fringe, the outliers and the cutting edge of society. They are the ones who will embrace and celebrate your effort because they know what it took to let your weird out. They have done it themselves.
For you, to step out of your carefully constructed box of existence, weird may be as benign as adding some candy sprinkles to your plain vanilla life. To others, letting their weird out may require a drastic dose of a radical alternative flavour in order to bust out of their personal box of safety. The level of weird is not the issue. The issue is that you let it out.
So if you feel that deep inside you there is a spark that is yearning to be released. That you have never truly breathed deep enough of the creative oxygen of life which is meant to ignite that spark but instead inhaled just enough for life to only exist, know that you are starving yourself of a basic life force. It is the sustenance of your soul; your creative genius. It is unique, particular only to you, and is the true manifestation of your spirit.
The kindred spirits on the fringe will identify your weird for what it is and embrace you as one of their own. The rest, those in the vanilla mainstream, need time to adjust but they too will eventually except.
But what if they don’t? What if your weird is just too weird for the people in your life?
Well, once you finally let it out and live as the creative genius that you truly are and once you get past the initial fear of showing your true self to those who have an opinion and may criticize, you will feel so alive and so free that it really won’t matter what anyone else thinks. And by the way, that is also when you will know that your weird is truly out.